Role model status, talented younger sister playing for Ireland and growth in the game

KATIE MCCABE has established herself as a leading figure in Irish women’s football in recent times.

The Girls In Green captain is one of the sport’s growing poster children on these shores; his impact was felt both on and off the pitch.

The versatile left-sided star is world class and has been a central player and flag bearer for Ireland and Arsenals in recent years.

One of the best ways to see its influence? Scroll through social media on match day for club or country, where you’ll come across viral clips from fan accounts and praise from game legends.

“Ruesha Littlejohn, she keeps my feet firmly on the ground through it all,” laughed McCabe last month, with a nod to her partner and teammate.

“No, all joking aside, it’s fantastic that we are now able for young girls to look up to us as role models. I think that’s a credit to all the players who came before us – the Emma Byrnes of the game. It’s about us now using our platform to continue to break down the barriers that we continue to be faced in women’s football and making sure we leave the game in a better place than where we started. I think if we keep doing this, then women’s football will only develop in the right way.

“I have a 14-year-old little sister who is about to start her international career with the Irish U15s, so yeah, I hope I can leave the game in a better place for her and her team-mates when they get to my age. .”

Lauryn McCabe (18) and Team Ireland celebrate at the Bob Docherty Cup.

Source: FAI Schools.

That sister she talked about a few weeks ago is Lauryn, who has since helped the Irish Schools U15 team win the Bob Docherty Cup.

The Shamrock Rovers talent played her part as Richard Berekey’s young talent picked up wins over England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and claimed silverware last week.

Katie watched from afar, on international duty herself, as her goal secured Vera Pauw’s side a memorable draw in Sweden.

“We monitored the girls’ results while we were away,” she smiles proudly. “Obviously it was the first time she was also away from home and represented Ireland properly – not really in friendlies.

“At the end of the week, she was texting me. I gave myself and the team a FaceTime to congratulate them and let them know that we had supported them behind the scenes. A few of the girls posted tweets.

“That connection is key and it’s important for the young players to know that we’re watching them and supporting them, and I think they were happy with the call.”

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McCabe (11) and her Irish teammates celebrate winning the Bob Docherty Cup in 2010.

Source: FAI Schools.

In 2010, the eldest of the McCabe sisters helped Ireland win the Bob Docherty Cup in Glasgow, alongside fellow current senior squad members Chloe Mustaki and Amber Barrett.

“We were kind of talking about how my little sister is now doing the same as us? It’s fantastic,” Katie beams.

“We wouldn’t have had that access at that age to the senior women’s team. It’s great that the girls can see the support we give them and know that we are watching them and will help them in any way we can.

It’s only a small change when you look at the growth of the game and how it has evolved from the 26-year-old’s debut until now.

katie mccabe

Katie McCabe and her sister, Lauryn, leading Ireland at Tallaght Stadium in 2018.

Credit: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

What about the rest?

“We would be here all day if we were talking about it,” she smiles. “I mean, where do I start?

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“In Ireland, in England, I think it’s massively developed. Investment obviously contributes to this. Visibility, the arrival of big sponsors like Cadbury contributes to this. There are many different factors.

“It’s obviously fantastic to see firsthand the level to which it’s changed and the trajectory it’s heading in and how quickly it’s becoming such a big thing now. I’ve always been a firm believer in leaving the game in a better place than the one in which you inherited it.

“To see Emma Byrne and older players in the Ireland team do this and really stand up for what they thought was important, and for us to take it to the next level, I’ve always admired that and always taken that. with me and wanted to continue to inspire that change.

“I also think that after the Euros this summer in England, it will only go up, another notch. It’s exciting to see, it’s exciting to be part of it and it’s exciting to see my little sister enjoy it too.

It’s fair to say there’s another potential Irish women’s football figurehead on the way.

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Cadbury have unveiled Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team captain Katie McCabe as their brand ambassador to launch a new campaign dedicated to supporting Irish women’s grassroots football, ‘Become a supporter and a half “.

Buy a Cadbury Dairy Milk exclusively from participating Spar stores nationwide until 5 May 2022 and Cadbury will donate up to €50,000 to grassroots women’s football clubs to make facility improvements where they are needed most.

BTL5

Rebecca R. Santistevan